December 30, 2018

Team ends the year on a high note

Coasting to a 69-43 victory over Cal State Northridge in Maples on Dec. 29, the Stanford women’s basketball team completed its pre-conference schedule and 2018 with a 10-1 record.

All 12 available players had at least five minutes on the court. Everyone except sophomore guard Kiana Williams scored, something unusual for the usually prolific shooter.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer gives Maya some tips before she returns to action in a previous game.
Sophomore forward Maya Dodson led the way with 16 points, most of them in the paint. She blocked three shots and had one steal.

Also in double figures were senior forward Alanna Smith with 14 and freshman forward Lacie Hull with 10. 

With three each, Lacie and junior guard DiJonai Carrington accounted for six of the team’s seven steals, while DiJonai was the leading rebounder with 12.

Rebound total exceeds visitors’ point total

The Cardinal were so dominant around the basket that they snared more rebounds, 53, than the Matadors had points, 43.

Unavailable players were senior guard Marta Sniezek, who hasn’t played at all this season; junior guard Anna Wilson, who had missed three games previously; and freshman forward Lexie Hull, who had missed the past seven games. CSUN had only 10 available players.

Starters were Alanna, junior forward Nadia Fingall, DiJonai, Lacie and Kiana.

Jenna and Tara show off Jenna's USA Basketball plaque.
Jenna honored for USA U18 play

Prior to the game, freshman guard Jenna Brown received a USA Basketball plaque honoring her role with the gold-winning U18 team during the summer. Jenna played the point for much of the CSUN game.

Stanford fans among the 2,520 people at the game got a bit of a scare early in the first quarter when Alanna limped toward the locker room. However, she returned to action a few minutes later.

The first quarter ended with Stanford up 19-4.

Then came the traditional Conga on the Court. Usually it’s led by Stanford students like the cheerleaders or Dollies, but no student groups were at the game because of the holiday break. Therefore, a young girl led the way.

Halftime saw the host team up 41-12, while the third quarter ended with a 31-point lead, 54-23.

Starters rest during the fourth quarter

With no doubt about the outcome, some fans started leaving early, and all of the team’s starters were on the bench for the entire fourth quarter.

Both teams made only five of 21 three-pointers.  Stanford’s total was below its average of 10+ per game, but 46 points in the paint helped to fill the gap.

Lacie had two of the three’s. The others came from DiJonai and sophomore forwards Alyssa Jerome and Estella Moschkau.

Jennifer Azzi gives the team some advice after the game.
After the game, Jennifer Azzi, ’90, who attended the game with her wife and their infant son, talked to the team in the locker room.

The arrival of 2019 will signal the start of the Pac 12 season, beginning with USC at 8 p.m. Jan. 4 and UCLA at 1 p.m. Jan. 6, both at Maples. The latter game will feature a Behind the Bench afterward.

Stanford Athletics photos

December 16, 2018

Team celebrates signature win over Baylor

Players on the bench cheer their teammates as they amass points against Baylor.

Maybe it was the fright wigs. Maybe it was the lock-down defense. Maybe it was the scouting report. Maybe it was the sharp-shooting from beyond the arc.

Most likely it was all of these factors and more as the Stanford women’s basketball team upset visiting Baylor 68-63 on Dec. 15.

It was a signature victory for the Cardinal with its No. 11 ranking by AP and 6-1 record over the 8-0, No. 3 Lady Bears. It also snapped the Bears’ 36-game regular season winning streak.

Welcome back to Maples

And it was a welcome return to Maples after a month. The Nov.18 game against Ohio State had been canceled because of smoke from the destructive wildfire in Butte County.

Then the team spent Thanksgiving in Hawaii for three wins. It was on the road again for a 73-77 loss at Gonzaga on Dec. 2, followed by two weeks off for Dead Week and finals.

The usual student groups -– band, cheerleaders, Dollies and Tree -– weren’t there, but they had a good excuse. They were in Minneapolis backing the women’s volleyball team as it won its unprecedented eighth national championship later in the day.

The game still attracted a vocal crowd of 3,440 even though the fall quarter had ended the previous day.

Baylor comeback falls short

These fans had plenty of reason to cheer as the Cardinal led 17-13 after the first quarter, 41-24 at the half and 58-42 after the third quarter.

Baylor tried to mount a comeback in the final quarter, giving fans some palpitations, but Stanford prevailed. Its largest lead was 18 points in the second half.

With senior guard Marta Sniezek and freshman forward Lexie Hull out with injuries, head coach Tara VanDerveer used 11 of the 13 available players.

Her starters were senior forward Alanna Smith, junior forward Nadia Fingall, junior guard DiJonai Carrington, freshman forward Lacie Hull and sophomore guard Kiana Williams.

Three of the starters were in double figures: Alanna with 21, Kiana with 13 and DiJonai with 10.

Nadia and DiJonai team up on defense of a Baylor player.
Defense holds tallest, highest scorer to five points

One example of the team’s defense was holding Baylor’s leading scorer, 6’7” Kalani Brown, to only five points. Only two Bears were in double figures. Another example –- steals –- 7-4 in the home team’s favor.

Stanford’s three’s, 13 of 30 for 43.3 percent, went a long way toward assuring the win. Alanna had five. Kiana and senior center Shannon Coffee, playing with a protective face mask for 19 minutes (more than usual), each had three. DiJonai and Lacie had one each.

On the other hand, free-throw shooting was sub-par, nine of 21, or 42.9 percent. Baylor made 16 of 20, or 80 percent. Baylor also led in rebounds, 43-30.

Back in Stanford’s favor, Baylor had 15 turnovers, Stanford 10. Fouls were  close: 19 for Stanford, 18 for Baylor.

Alyssa, Estella and Mikaela model the wigs. (Stanford Athletics)
Fans get fright wigs, a.k.a. rally wigs

As fans arrived, they could help themselves to what Stanford called rally wigs, but others called fright wigs. T-shirts were tossed into the crowd at various intervals.

At the half, fans could cheer the football team before its New Year’s Eve day matchup against Pittsburgh in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

Coaches Tempie Brown, Kate Paye, Lindy La Rocque and Tara, along with basketball administrator Amy Tucker, welcome Jayne and her daughter, Shea.
Also watching the game were Jayne Appel-Marinelli, ’10, and her husband, Chris Marinelli, who played football at Stanford; their 10-month-old daughter, Shea; and Jayne’s parents, Joe and Pam. They received a loud ovation when they were shown on the video board during the first quarter.

The team faces its next tests on the road against No. 9 Tennessee on Dec. 18 and against unranked Buffalo on Dec. 21. The latter game might draw some cross-border contingents from Ontario, home of sophomore forward Alyssa Jerome and junior guard Mikaela Brewer.

Except for wigs, photos by Don Feria/